Editor's note: Jill Adams is a professional writer based in Fort Wayne.
When you are the mother of small children, it is inevitable that you will have to engage in DIY activities from time to time. Halloween costumes, school art projects, makeshift toy repairs … sometimes, we just do what we have to do.
However, there are limits on just how much liberty one should take within certain skill sets. Take, for example, hair cutting.
I really should have learned this lesson 20 years ago, when I attempted to give myself a trim before a skating party. I looked away just as the scissors clamped down, and spent the next hour trying to cover up the situation before my mother saw me. That night at dinner, she eyed me suspiciously.
“Is your hair different?” she asked.
“Um, no,” I responded as I studied my broccoli.
“You cut it, didn't you?” she asked with an arched brow.
I caved, admitted my error and received the disappointed headshake. Ultimately, however, my mother decided the appearance of my hair was it's own punishment. And she was right.
Following that experience, it would stand to reason that I would never feel inclined to apply scissors to hair again. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
One recent afternoon, I noticed my daughter's hair was in her eyes. I watched her as she batted at it, blew it out of her face and continually tried to wipe it away. I grabbed a bow and fastened the hair back. We smiled at each other with the mutual satisfaction of having the problem solved.
But 10 minutes later, the hair had escaped the clip and was back in her eyes. I pulled it back again. Again, the hair came free. She walked up to me with a frustrated pout. I looked down at her, and a light bulb came on.
“I know!” I said to her enthusiastically. “I'll just trim those bangs for you!”
I grabbed a pair of grooming scissors and figured a quick trim would take care of everything. I combed her hair down, eyed the length and decided on a plan. I carefully gathered her hair in my hands to avoid her eyes, held the scissors up and gave a quick snip … at the exact same moment that she moved her head.
Icy dread washed over me. My little girl had asymmetrical bangs.
“Oh, boy,” I said to myself.
She turned to look at herself in the mirror.
“Pretty!” she exclaimed with a wide grin.
I bit my lip. I couldn't let her walk around with uneven bangs. So, I quickly tried to straighten them out. I let the hair fall. Now it was lopsided in the other direction.
I knew if I gave in to my strong desire to burst into tears, it would only upset my little girl. So, I blinked them back and moved on.
I surveyed my final attempt at reconciliation. The bangs were easily a half-inch shorter than they should ever be, but at least they weren't wildly uneven. I released her to go play and put my head in my hands. Why, oh, why, had I attempted that haircut?
That night, when my husband came home, I cringed as our daughter ran to the door to greet him. Sure enough, the bangs were the first thing he noticed.
“Did you take her to get a haircut?” he asked me.
“Not exactly,” I said, shuffling my feet. “I sort of did it myself.”
“It looks cute,” he said with a smile.
I exhaled. At that moment, I had a deep appreciation for my husband's functional hair sensibilities. Then I mentally banned myself from scissors, and rested in the consolation that at least hair grows back.